Top 10 best in Retro Film/Television of 2019
Joker The best throwback to the classic experimental films of the 1970s and set during the mid-80’s, JOKER is one of the best film experiences I’ve ever had. If you don’t believe me, you can backtrack to my in-depth review of the film right here on
The best throwback to the classic experimental films of the 1970s and set during the mid-80’s, JOKER is one of the best film experiences I’ve ever had. If you don’t believe me, you can backtrack to my in-depth review of the film right here on NEW RETRO WAVE.
The film was tragic, heartbreaking, disturbing and funny at moments. It is truly a marvelous film.
Joaquin Phoenix delivers a monster performance of a man struggling to make a place for himself in a cold world. The film doesn’t force you or spoon feed you, but the film does give a character study of a man who could become the JOKER and makes you feel for him. It’s the ascension of a lost soul into madness and the tragedy of a no one transcending into infamy. It’s a classic. Nothing was better than it this entire year except maybe MARRIAGE STORY or possibly Uncut Gems.
If you would like to read more of my thoughts about JOKER go click on my film review.
Wonderful to see people making credible Stephen King adaptations, isn’t it? The Dark Tower left a bad taste in my mouth and sadness at another wasted potential of an Idris Elba performance. However, Idris is doing fine and we are getting good King films. IT volume 1 was a monster when it premiered in theaters and the follow-up, I actually liked. Mike Flanagan seems to be the one person who truly understands how to translate the stories to the big screen. He directed Gerald’s Game which was REALLY GOOD. Mike Flanagan followed that with Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House mini-series to critical acclaim. Now soon to be then 2019 also gave us DOCTOR SLEEP also directed by Flanagan. Based on the novel and sequel to King’s THE SHINING. Doctor Sleep follows Daniel Torrance, now a recovering addict living in seclusion in his mid-age before he is develops a long distance friendship with a young girl via The Shining ability they both share; a Shining that is being hunted by members of the True Knot and their deliciously evil leader. The music is subtly and the story is well contained, distinguishing itself from its predecessor with very well fleshed out characters and antagonists with defined motives and conflicts for the first two acts of the movie before delivering on fanservice with its climax. It’s a slow burning horror movie that delivers on mood and pacing. A MUST WATCH.
Alita: Battle Angel
We all thought it was impossible. There is no way in hell a live-action anime would be good. A lot of us thought and still think Cameron is washed up; that Rodriguez had become a hack. Well we were wrong and ALITA was actually a good movie. The ending to me was a lil mehh, but, it was good. The camera work and CGI was crisp and blended together well and in 3D blurred the lines between flesh and pixel. I even learned to love the anime eyes given to the main character. Good cast, although the love interest was more visual than substance. Rosa Salazar is a much better ALITA than who James Cameron originally wanted for the role (rumor is it was Jessica Alba). It was also nice to always Jennifer Connelly in any film. The last reveal at the end was funny because the entire time I was thinking “How’d they get Julian Lennon to play the main villain NOVA” to be surprised at the end like “Oh it’s him”.
Dolemite is my Name
The story of the man who would become DOLEMITE, The ass kicking, jive-talking, women loving, honky smacking man too badass for two names. My Name is Dolemite stars Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, T.I., Chris Rock, Luenell and more. Rudy Ray Moore was a man just getting by who had a dream to become a star. Proving that perseverance, drive and imagination can take you anywhere you want to go. Eddie Murphy is back and R rated. Wesley Snipes, my friends, is amazing in this film – Amazing. Streaming on NETFLIX.
Watchmen on HBO
Now let me be objective. At first there was some pushback from viewers over where the series would go. But, by the final episode of the first season it seems everyone is “All in” over HBO’s WATCHMEN series. Series creator and showrunner Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers) and starring the extremely talented Regina King and co-starring Jeremy Irons, Louis Gossett, Jr. Tim Blake Nelson, Jean Smart and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. wITH music by NIN. The series took the motifs and layered storytelling of the graphic novel and attempted to tell its own story following up the events of the Alien Squid Attack.
Some reviewers are online calling this the best series of the past few years which I disagree. I mean, MR. ROBOT is killing everything right now in its final season. Watchmen is great. It’s deep. It’ plays with actual history to develop a rich world in an alternate timeline from our own in a very very well executed way. It’s a good show. Let’s see where they take it with season 2, if there is a second season.
The Mandalorian on Disney +
The Star Wars series that’s saving the franchise. Most people don’t like Last Skywalker and some people liked it meanwhile others think it’s the end of the world. But, everyone loves the Mandalorian and Cub… I mean Lonewolf and yoda…. I mean The Mandalorian. What else can I say? It’s Star Wars. It’s full of fan service and the story does seem like a breath of fresh air in a stagnant universe.
On Becoming God in Central Florida
The oddball of the list. On Becoming God in Central Florida is a weird series to pin down. It’s almost like watching a bizarre blend of Roseanne, Northern Exposure, Raising Arizona and the film SHE-DEVIL. Kirsten Dunst hasn’t been this entertaining since 1999’s Drop Dead Gorgeous. Beth Ditto does a very convincing job as the Florida housewife to a man who is trying to become a self-made man. The series set during the 1980s is stacked with classic hits and b-sides on the soundtrack. The fashion is tragic but it is Florida and it was the 80’s.
The resurgence of Classic Jim Henson properties
Jim Henson is classic and always will be. The previous year gave us some great material to chew with a comic book series adapted from the scraped screenplay for a sequel to The Dark Crystal (1982) by Boom Studios titled The Power of the Dark Crystal. There was also that lovely Labyrinth comic book published by Achaia Entertainment. But in 2019 The Jim Henson Company and Netflix joined forces to premiere The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on August 30, 2019 to critical and audience acclaim. With an all-star cast of too many people to name; including Taron Egerton (Kingsmen), Anya Taylor-Joy (Split), Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Simon Pegg (Spaced), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Lena Headey (300) AND more and more and more. Depicting the battle between the Gelflings and the Skeksis on the planet Thra and using state of the art techniques in puppetry and special f/x this was a wet dream for anyone who remembers watching the original film as a child.
Doom Patrol was the X-MEN before the X-men. A group of individuals afflicted with extraordinary abilities and handicaps coming together and saving the world, if not themselves. The classic comic book superteam created by Arnold Drake and Bob Haney with Bruno Premiani in 1963 stepped into the live action medium in 2019 on DC Universe. Starring Brendan Fraser, Matt Bomer, Timothy Dalton, Joivan Wade and others. Mixing a healthy dose of humor and plot made this series a binge worthy series to sit my ass down and take in (pause). Brandan Frasier absolutely stands out with his performance as Robotman.
Stranger Things season 3
After a lukewarm reception to Season 2’s drawn out drama with perhaps two many episodes that needed to be shot. Including a throwaway episode that was more X-Men:Runaways than anything that was necessary for that season. Stranger Things came back with a shorter third season with a much more condensed and thought out season that reminded us why we fell in love with these young characters in the first place. Adding more lore and world building into the, retro, suburban lovecraftian story of a group of young teens growing up with the ever-looming threat of apocalypse just around the corner from the UPSIDE DOWN. Characters are better developed and the soundtrack was chosen wisely. Memorable moment: The Neverending Story.
Notable Mention: GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
Definitely better than the first GODZILLA movie from Legendary films. However, for those that have seen the movie know that at times KING OF THE MONSTERS gets in its own way too much. There was less Human importance in this film but, still I felt that there could‘ve been just a little bit more Monster carnage and a little less of the shaky camera, night time, quick cut-aways that happen way to often. I mean come on, you wait the whole film for the big showdown at the end and just as they are about to get to the monster mash, they filmmakers decided to park the ass end of a big fat fuck military plane right in the middle of the screen. It was the only complaint I had with the film but enough keep the movie from my top ten.